Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Leap Year

2010. Dir: Anand Tucker. Starring: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow and Neal O'Donovan. ●○○○○

I am, at last, returning to the shocking load of outstanding reviews. You could say I was perfectly entitled to procrastinate as job number one is the unenviable task of reviewing Anand Tucker's Leap Year. I suppose I could sum up my poinions of it by saying I want my money (and possibly the two hours of my life) back, but there were some - very minor - positives so here goes.

For those of you far more savvy to the dangers of rom-com hell than I am here is the back of a fag packet version of the plot: 20 something decorator (Amy Adams, looking more and more like an excited rodent - honestly she should join up with Renee Zellweger's squinty guinea pig and they could do a live action Wind in the Willows) in a long-term relationship (with dull Adam Scott, acting dull-ly) and desperate to marry follows her beau to Picture postcard Ireland to propose to him on February 29th. Only to land on the wrong end of the country. She gets a lift with hunky local barman (Matthew - actually quite - Goode) and craaazzeeee stuff happens.

Oh, where to begin. I will ignore the dodgy geography, the crude stereotyping and even the twee moralising as all of these are Hollywood Ireland tropes that have become as much a part of the legend of the Emerald Isle as the reality (and you only have to look at a film like The Quiet Man to know those factors aren't really an issue at all). In fact as an advert for Ireland it works very well - I know I want to go back to take another look now I've seen the rolling countryside and beautiful scenery.

Amy Adams is a very pretty and very talented actress, but I'm not sure if these work as a combination. If you look at her last two performances - in this and Julie and Julia she tries so hard to be likeable as well that she comes across as smug and grating. Perhaps the doe-eyed innocent really is the limit of her capabilities.

Matthew Goode fares slightly better, in a rogueish sort of way, but that's possible due to the set-up where you're comparing his devil-may-care live-life-to-the-full attitude to the practical Scott. Even so it's less of a performance than a caricature - and it pares horribly in comparison to A Single Man.

I'd also like to point out that John Lithgow was in this movie, as Amy's drunk Irish father. Of course you know he's in the movie because he's in the trailer - not that you'd know from watching the movie where his screen time is less than it is in the trailer. Really. It's a worrying trend of putting scenes in the trailer that don't make it to the film but I'll rant about that some other time.

The writing is fairly by the book, with every twist and turn coming a mile off and no cliche left unturned. Anand Tucker's direction is also terribly pedestrian, he appears to be regressing in his ability and all the majesty he created in Hilary and Jackie now seems like a very distant memory.

There were some nice moments - the kitchen scene was special and for the one moment in the film you felt there was some chemistry between the two leads - but on the whole these were too few and far between to make the slightest difference. It remains my second one star film for 2010. I hope to God [or at least I did at this point bearing in mind I've been to the cinema 4 more times since then] I start seeing better movies soon.

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